The US has come to the conclusion that China lied about the number of coronavirus infected and killed, and believes that number has been greatly reduced, according to a US intelligence report quoted by Bloomberg on Thursday.
The Bloomberg Agency released a confidential report that was submitted to the White House last week.
At his regular daily press conference, President Donald Trump avoided a specific answer.
“Their numbers seem a little overwhelming, and I’m very polite to say that. When asked if their figures are correct, I can say I’m not a Chinese bookkeeper,” Trump said.
US intelligence has estimated that the number of coronavirus casualties officially released by Beijing is inaccurate and deliberately misleading.
“The Communist Party of China has lied, lies and will continue to lie about the coronavirus to protect the regime,” Republican Senator Ben Sasse said, commenting on the report.
“The CIA has confirmed what we already knew: For months, China has been hiding the seriousness of the virus,” his House of Representatives member William Timmons added.
“The world is now paying for their mistakes,” he noted.
Michael McCaul, who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also attacked China, which “hid the true numbers of those infected” with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The Trump administration, led by Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo in recent weeks, has sharply criticized China for its lack of transparency about an epidemic that has spread to the world, but has so far not clearly accused it of lying.
On Tuesday, White House Crisis Pandemic Crisis Coordinator Deborah Birx said China was reducing casualties, and therefore interpreted the figures in such a way that the situation was not as serious as suspected, adding that we now see the consequences of that interpretation in Italy and Spain.
According to official figures, 82,394 people have died in China since December, when the disease erupted in Hubei province, killing 3312. In the US, about 4,700 people have died from the infection and more than 216,000 have been infected.